(Cross-posted from Google's Public Policy Blog)
People often get up in settings like the international climate change conference in Copenhagen and make complicated pronouncements that leave heads spinning. Today was different. Google, GE, the Climate Group, and NRDC, supported by other leading businesses and NGOs, had a simple message: governments across the world should ensure people have real-time access to their home energy information.
Most of us know little about how we use energy in our homes, other than what our monthy power bill tells us. Yet studies show that when people can see in real-time how much energy they are using, they save up to 15% on their electricity use with simple behavioral changes, and even more with investments in energy efficiency. The savings are huge when added up: if all US households reduced 15% of their energy use by 2020 it would be equivalent to taking 35 million cars off the road and would save consumers $46 billion on their energy bills.
As 40,000 people gather in Copenhagen to fight global warming, we think that's a solution that governments should be paying attention to. This group, which will take other actions after the meeting has ended, has begun a push to give ordinary citizens the tools to save money and save the planet. A lot of the decisions on the table in Copenhagen are hard, we believe this one is simple.
Copenhagen statement signers: Google, GE, The Climate Group, NRDC, Alliance to Save Energy, Center for American Progress, Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition, Digital Energy Solutions Campaign, Dow, Energy Future Coalition, Intel, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, US Green Building Council, Whirlpool